Its highly anticipated Easter Weekend release already postponed, the Australian-made super-hero movie Vaccine Man has now been dumped by its frustrated producers.
My spies in the industry tell me the locally based fledgling film maker LNP Productions has lost millions of dollars on the project which has now been canned indefinitely with not even the streaming services interested in picking it up.
It was the project that was going to turn the filmmaker’s fortunes around after their debut comedy-drama, I Don’t Hold A Hose, Mate, with the same main star bombed the summer before last.
Test screenings of Vaccine Man over recent days showed a marked cooling in interest in the film once the end of March came and went.
“Up to then, the expectations for Vaccine Man were very very high and we were looking at a very, very serious money-maker with a heap of AACTA awards in its keeping,” my contact at LNP Productions told me.
“April came and those test audiences started walked away early in our screenings shaking their heads, which is pretty amazing considering they were being paid to be there.
“What we hoped would have been a durable franchise to make this actor the brightest and the best for as he liked has turned into a very expensive dud.”
Adding to the bitter disappointment is the fact that mainstream media film reviewers had been glowing in their praise of the film after critics’ screenings back in March.
In reviews the producers had asked not to be run until Easter, the SMH’s Peta Harsher last Saturday called it a game changer and predicted a successful long-term career for the actor playing the eponymous role.
Many reviewers at various NewsCorp publications and TV shows were also fulsome in their support for the project with Sky News Australia’s Alaine Jones late last week calling it a tour-de-force and visibly wetting her pants on-screen as she delivered her review while gushing of “this amazingly handsome leading man who is going to take the movie world by storm”.
Channel Nine’s film reviewer Christine Uhlwomann was so impressed with every aspect of the movie, but especially its SFX, that she sent as a reward to the producers the bare bones of a science fiction script she is writing, When The Sun Doesn’t Shine and The Wind Doesn’t Blow.
Disclaimer: Vaccine Man was produced by LNP Productions in association with News Corp Australia who had also been granted marketing rights for the project.